Tighty Whiteys

Taking this photo just made my day. I was hoping no one saw me sneak out my camera at my favorite thrift store because it’s just hard to explain why I wanted this photo so badly. I’m not even sure myself. I figured it’d be a perfect non sequitur blog post all alone, labeled simply “slow news day.”

Last night, however, I got to thinking about “whiteness” and I had the perfect illustration ready.

I went to hear Christian Lander, blogger and author of Stuff White People Like. He was at Politics & Prose, my local bookstore, doing his third reading (the first two being Harvard’s bookstore and Google’s headquarters). His blog, begun in January, is really striking a chord, and having laughed alone at home over it, I wanted to check out the buzz in person. And buzz there was. Huge crowd. Fun night. “Awareness” raised.

Made me think about a Tim Keller sermon I heard once. I wish I could direct you to the right one but I can’t. Keller was talking about how a friend (black, I think) told him that white people don’t know that they have a culture. They just think that the things they do and say and think are “the way it is.” Yet white people think that blacks and hispanics and others have specific cultures (i.e. little idiosyncratic ways about them that are not representative of some perceived mainstream, probably white). That point in Keller’s sermon caught me so off guard that I cried. I totally agreed with it, and I was so convicted of white assumptions I have.

What I loved about Lander last night was that he really does seem to be laughing at himself as he laughs at all of us. Unpaid internships, awareness campaigns, gifted children, farmer’s markets … these were a few of the white loves he skewered, kindly and humorously I thought. But I defintely went home with a lot to think about. That’s a good book reading.

I laughed at his comment that of all the spinoffs of his blog that he has seen (“Stuff Asians Like,” etc.) his favorite is “White Stuff People Like.” So in that vein, I hope you like my “tighty whitey” photo. It made my day!

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~ by Cary on July 24, 2008.

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